Continental Expert Mode, now on steroids


When Continental updated their website to include the so-called “expert mode” a few weeks ago it was a pretty cool. Being able to click on the “Fare Class” link and see exactly how many seats are available can be quite useful for many travel planning efforts.

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But I’m not willing to settle for all that clicking, nor squinting to figure out which of the award buckets have seats available. There must be an easier way, right? You betcha!

Thanks to GreaseMonkey and some JavaScript tinkering (and a special thanks to Rob for help with the RegEx query!) you can now get expert mode on steroids.

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Award buckets will show up in red if they have no inventory and in big, bold green letters if they do have award inventory. When reviewing the results it might be useful to know what those letters mean.

  • R – Upgrade award inventory for redeeming miles, regional upgrades, system-wide upgrades or other similar instruments
  • X – Coach SaverPass award inventory
  • I – Domestic First/International Business/BusinessFirst SaverPass award inventory
  • O – Domestic First/International Business/BusinessFirst SaverPass additional award inventory for elites

Additionally, all the availability screens will show up “open” by default. This will block some of the details about the on-time performance, seat map and meal details. Oh,and flight numbers and aircraft types, too, in many cases. But you get all the award bucket details in one quick glance. Well worth it if you ask me.

To enable this glory on your Continental queries you need to be running any browser that will support a Grease Monkey script (add-on for FF here; native in Chrome; IE has some hacks but none are as reliable). Once you’re there, head here and get the script.

Also worth noting is that the continental.com website is going to be the surviving technology platform on which the new United operates going forward so it is likely that, with a few tweaks over time, this script will continue to work in the future. Good stuff.

Questions? Comments? Feedback requests? Just leave a comment below.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

36 Comments

  1. Hmmm on second thought, it seems to be throwing an error in Chrome for me when I try to select a flight:

    “We’re sorry, but continental.com was unable to complete your request due to a technical problem.
    Please try later or call 1-800-300-1547 for assistance.”

    When I disable your extension, the site works fine again.

    1. Who said anything about booking a flight??? :p

      Sorry about that. I just updated the script a tiny bit (v4) and it should now actually let you get through the flight selection process cleanly. I was replacing too much with my fancy RegEx query. Sometimes less is more.

      @Sam: I suppose adding XN in, too, is not such a bad idea.

  2. How about XN inventory? As an elite, it is just (if not more important to me) than X inventory. Great stuff though!

  3. Hi Seth,

    Are you going to be in DC anytime soon? I need help installing this.

    Thanks,

    cova

  4. United has had this feature for as long as I can remember, it’s good to see something from UA that will stick around through the merger.

    1. Agreed, Kris, though I’m actually a much bigger fan of how Continental has implemented it versus United. The data is now available on a regular revenue ticket search rather than jumping through hoops on award searches (or I just didn’t know how to do it right on .bomb). This means that you can easily compare the costs of an award versus revenue ticket at a glance with all the data in one screen.

  5. I have always had the inventory list show up for both award searches and standard revenue searches for UA. Haven’t tried out the CO site yet, but I figure it can’t be better than the UA version. Maybe I misunderstood your post, but it sounded like you found the UA expert mode to only show inventory on award searches, so if I misunderstood, sorry about that.

    1. What route/date are you looking at, Bo-Yin? Most likely it is that there is no award inventory available as it isn’t always there on most routes, but it might be something else.

  6. I am on united.com and am booking a r/t flight from ewr to ord. I see that these is R uogrades available. What do I have to buy to ensure I get upgraded to 1st class.

    Thanks

    1. If you see the R inventory available then you can redeem miles or upgrade instruments (depending on the route) to get the upgrade. If you want to wait for the complimentary upgrade as an elite then you have to consider that there are others likely to be doing the same and you might not get it if they have higher fares/status than you do.

  7. Looks like we need an upgrade to allow for the fare codes on the search screens. This functionality was just added back last night 3/8.

    thanks for a great job on this!

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